Posted by: John McGerr | January 1, 2009

Of Slings and things


Every tourist guide I read said that no visit to Singapore should miss a trip to Raffles Hotel, to have a Singapore Sling in the ‘famous’ Long Bar and to have High Tea. Underwhelmed would be the only word I could describe these events. First off we had a Singapore Sling in the Long Bar, which did remind me of scenes from old British movies set in the colonies, I was kind of expecting Richard Attenborough or Trevor Howard to be sitting at a table. It was place best viewed in black and white.  At our table, and every table, were bowls of peanuts with the shells discarded onto the floor. Sacks of these same nuts were stacked against some of the tables. The drink itself was sweet and not very tempting as well as overpriced. For our first visit for High Tea it turned out that some of the ladies in the party were no appropraitely dressed, wearing as they did ‘strappy’ tops. On another day, wearing ordinary t-shirts we were all admitted for the Tea – basically an all you can eat buffet with the added attraction that as soon as you soiled a utensil it would be whisked away and replaced – no cutlery shortages here.  Shopping is something this city is built around, with a choice between large malls, smaller shops and stalls. Sections of the city are still named for the indigenous population of the area, this is reflected in the names – Chinatown, Little India, Arab Quarter.  In Little India I saw a beautifully ornate Hindu temple – Sri Veeramakaliamman – dedicated to Kali. My only knowledge of Kali is from an Indiana Jones movie so may not be reliable. A taxi driver told us it costs ten thousand Singapore dollars to get a permit to drive a car, that’s before you buy the car itself. The idea seems to be to keep cars to a minimum and encourage use of public transport. And the public transport system is great – there are very few areas of the city state that are not covered by either bus, train or MRT. We bought travel cards that we could use for both bus and MRT. You don’t even have to take it out of your wallet,  just press your wallet against the sensor and away you go.  And the names of the sections of the city are quite memorable themselves – Novena, Dhoby Ghaut, Bukit Timah. Another attraction I had been told about was the night safari at the Zoo. ‘Well worth a visit’ – and so it proved. Most of the animals were in paddocks rather than cages – some even roamed free and your trip consisted of sitting on a kind of train and following a path through the paddocks.

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Responses

  1. Thanks man, great post!

  2. Thanks Mateusz


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